The first week of the daily fantasy football season is in the books and it's bittersweet. On the one hand, it means one fewer week of fantasy football and an opportunity to cash in. But it also provides us our first taste of numbers and film to operate of, to get a better idea about how to target certain matchups and players who can provide value.
A look back at our lineup last week offered some poor results results. Some of our most expensive, elite plays such as Le'Veon Bell and Doug Baldwin left us with egg in our face and outside the cash zone. When you pair it with poor performances from Carson Palmer and Brandon Marshall, whose matchups indicated great performances, left us hurting in a major way.
But this is all about learning and getting back on our feet, which is what we'll do here. This week presents an opportunity for a strong bounce-back and a chance to turn last week's loss into an outstanding win and cash payout this week.
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers v. Miami Dolphins - $5,800
Initial discussion went towards Carson Palmer in a rebound opportunity against the Indianapolis Colts. But in the end, a slight edge is given to Rivers in his matchup against the Dolphins. It's in part, due to the fact that Week 1 provided a glimpse into the type of fantasy production Rivers can put up, even when he faces tough competition, with three touchdowns against the Denver Broncos.
This week, he'll face a Dolphins' secondary that allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season. That puts him in an ideal spot this week with a supporting cast that is completely healthy and offers a variety of weapons for him to move the ball down the field, whether it's a deep pass to Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin or racking up yards through the intermediate attack and connecting with Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. Pair that with Rivers price, 16th amongst quarterbacks, and you have the start to an optimized lineup.
Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders v. New York Jets - $6,000
Lynch, who came in as a top-five running back in this week's fantasy rankings, is an easy selection as our RB1. He's significantly cheaper than many of the elite RB1 options for Sunday's slate and when you can save over $1K and still find premium production, the decision is easy as 1 + 1. Affordability and touches are one significant factor in Lynch's favor, but the projected game flow against the Jets is another reason we roll with him. Oakland is heavy favorites on Sunday and even in a close battle against the Tennessee Titans, Lynch received 18 carries. He could see 20-plus touches this week and receive multiple goal-line touches to turn a strong fantasy day into a difference maker that helps us finish in the win column.
Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons - $5,800
Before the season started, fantasy owners and analysts initially held concerns over Montgomery's level of involvement in Green Bay's offense. While we knew Montgomery would be the lead back, many believed rookie Jamaal Williams could step in on passing downs given Montgomery's issues in pass protection. But if Week 1 is any indicator of the upcoming games, Montgomery will be the workhorse of this offense.
Montgomery impressed fantasy owners last week with 93 total yards, four receptions and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. He should find success a little easier against the Falcons, who Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard gashed them for 117 rushing yards and 61 receiving yards. Montgomery should see 15-plus touches and five-plus targets in this game, with the targets and potential receptions carrying even more importance in PPR scoring. It could all lead to the 24-year-old running back finishing Sunday amongst the top-10 running backs in scoring and give us outstanding production at the running back position.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons v. Green Bay Packers - $9,200
For whatever reason, Atlanta turned away from Jones in Week 1 after he turned in a strong started. One of the most electrifying playmakers in all of football, Jones didn't see a single target in the second half against the Chicago Bears and Head Coach Dan Quinn recognized the team's failure to get him the ball when he talked to reporters. It's something that should absolutely change with this matchup against the Packers.
While Green Bay's secondary seemed to show improvements from last season in Week 1, the challenge of covering Jones is something entirely different. Atlanta will be opening up their brand new stadium on Sunday and the turf should provide a speed track for Jones to make play after play against Green Bay's secondary. Fantasy owners should feel comfortable with the belief that Jones will return to seeing 10-plus targets and receive some big play opportunities.
Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots @ New Orleans Saints - $8,200
#RevengeGame. That will be the theme on Sunday with Cooks return to New Orleans, an opportunity to show him just what they gave away to New England. This is more than an opportunity for revenge though, Cooks would be a top play even if he never stepped foot in New Orleans before this week. Because as Monday Night Football showed, the Saints' secondary is lethargic and unable to cover wide receivers. It's a tradition unlike any other and that gives Cooks a special edge this week.
If you want whip cream to top off the DFS dessert, then remember what happened to New England last week. Kansas City embarrassed Tom Brady and the Patriots, a team that can rally around the slightest grievance and destroy their next opponent, will take this as an opportunity to reign down dozens of points and hundreds of yards in New Orleans and Cooks will be a significant beneficiary of that.
Michael Campanaro, Baltimore Ravens v. Cleveland Browns - $3,000
With the loss of Danny Woodhead, Baltimore needs someone to step up in the slot to help give this offense a go-to on drives when the team needs to move the chains and rely on a short, quick passing attack to take pressure off a depleted offensive line. Many have speculated about who would step up in that role, we'll buy into the player who the quarterback that will be passing the ball named. Flacco specifically mentioned Campanaro as someone who could step up for Baltimore in the slot.
It's a gamble on our part, but one that could pay off greatly. Campanaro is a near-minimum player at just $3,000 and if he steps into an expanded role as projected, the return on our investment goes beyond standard value plays. Especially in DraftKings' scoring system where we'll get a full point for every reception Campanaro receives, he gives us a risk-reward play with high upside and little risk of hurting our investment in him.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings @ Pittsburgh Steelers - $4,200
The tight end position can always be a gamble outside the elites, especially when there aren't second-tier tight ends facing the Oakland Raiders. So, we turn towards a security blanket in Rudolph. While he only saw three targets last week, he caught all three and finished the night with three receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. The line doesn't sound great but 11 points from the position is more than acceptable. It feels safe to say Minnesota will move the ball against Pittsburgh's defense and when they get inside the red zone, Rudolph should see some quality opportunities to score.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST v. Philadelphia Eagles - $2,900